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The LA Rental, Upgraded: Designer Paige Geffen’s 500-Square-Foot Challenge

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The LA Rental, Upgraded: Designer Paige Geffen’s 500-Square-Foot Challenge

July 28, 2017

When interior designer Paige Geffen moved into a one-bedroom rental in Echo Park, Los Angeles, she faced a common design challenge: a challenging layout.

The one-bedroom 500-square-foot bungalow, built in 1965, has a kitchen, living, and dining room all in one space. “There was a lot of problem solving involved,” Paige says. “The placement of the windows drove me insane. The sofa could not be centered between the windows because of the layout.” Paige, who worked as a prop stylist before starting her interior design business, found solutions by creating transitions between each area with artwork, furniture, and rugs.

Renters—listen closely: “I really believe that you can change an entire room and make anything work with proper styling. You can rearrange the balance and reimagine the look and feel of any space.” Here’s how she did it.

Photography by Bethany Nauert and Lauren Moore courtesy of Paige Geffen.

“i already owned most of the furniture before i moved in, so the design  9
Above: “I already owned most of the furniture before I moved in, so the design was all about using what I had and making it work with the art and accessories.” The giant ceramic fixture is from Tech Lighting. “It’s insane. It took two handymen to install it (and even then they could barely lift it),” Paige says. It was worth it, though, because “I like to use scale for maximum design impact.”
paige created an l shaped living area with a vintage sideboard and a söder 10
Above: Paige created an L-shaped living area with a vintage sideboard and a Söderhamn sofa from Ikea. Because whe couldn’t center the sofa between the off-set windows, she added a large potted plant to distract the eye from the asymmetry.
paige created a small dining area in a corner, with an oak common table ii 11
Above: Paige created a small dining area in a corner, with an Oak Common Table II from Akron Street and a pair of Herman Chairs from Ferm Living. A trio of framed works hangs above the dining table. The double wall light by Workstead creates a transition between the two areas, shedding light on each corner.
paige in the dining area. 12
Above: Paige in the dining area.
a \1960s italian pace collection chair (“i found it in a thrift store fo 13
Above: A 1960s Italian Pace Collection Chair (“I found it in a thrift store for an incredible price”) together with the sofa and Gubi Gräshoppa Floor Lamp makes a window into the open kitchen.
a console table from urban outfitters (no longer available) holds baskets and a 14
Above: A console table from Urban Outfitters (no longer available) holds baskets and African art sculptures. On the wall, the Enter Magazine Holder from Ferm Living holds reading material. The barstools are natural and black Rattan Barstools from HK Living. The Berber rug is from Morocco and the wall-hung mirror is vintage.
in the kitchen, paige switched out an existing light fixture for the terra 15
Above: In the kitchen, Paige switched out an existing light fixture for the Terra Surface from Cedar & Moss.
paige had shelves custom built by fabricator lee golde with cast iron indu 16
Above: Paige had shelves custom built by fabricator Lee Golde with cast iron Industrial Brackets from Rejuvenation.
paige tacked unframed drawings, found at the rose bowl flea market, to the wall 17
Above: Paige tacked unframed drawings, found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, to the wall. Her secret source for art sourcing there is a vendor who sells individual pieces and entire portfolios by unknown artists.
in the bedroom, paige installed flat roman shades in ivory linen from the  18
Above: In the bedroom, Paige installed Flat Roman Shades in ivory linen from the Shade Store for privacy. A vintage Kaare Klint Safari Chair from County Ltd. and a Brass Tilt Cone Sconce from Cedar & Moss anchor a corner. The armoire has a story: Paige picked it up at a thrift store (she saw the potential, despite the original “terrible Shabby Chic green” color) and stripped the finish, which was “a 30-hour process.” Next she tested various black paints, and in the process discovered that adding paint thinner to the formula created the effect she was after. “Now you can see the wood grain. It took weeks to figure out how to get the finish I wanted. Paint thinner was the last thing I expected to work,” she says.
for extra closet storage, paige installed a brass towel bar from schoolhouse el 19
Above: For extra closet storage, Paige installed a Brass Towel Bar from Schoolhouse Electric. She found the Josef Frank Prague Chair on Etsy. The mirror is the Norm Floor Mirror from Menu.

Paige is an expert at sourcing vintage. Her favorite sources: The Rose Bowl (“I always get there at 6am”), Grain and Dekor in Atwater Village, and Den Møbler for midcentury. Thanks to Paige for sharing. You can find more from Paige on Instagram @paigegeffen.

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